Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

Celebrating Charlotte Forten Grimke

Filed in Stories, voices :: March 10, 2012

Charlotte Forten Grimke (1837-1914)  was the first African American woman to teach white children in Massachusetts.  She risked her life and health to teach liberated slave children on the island of St. Helena off the South Carolina coast during the Civil War.

And she leaves a legacy through her journals, essays, and poetry. Her writing tells her story nearly a hundred years after her death.

From her poem “Wordsworth”:

We turn to thee, true priest of Nature’s fane,
And find the rest our fainting spirits need, —
The calm, more ardent singers cannot give;
As in the glare intense of tropic days,
Gladly we turn from the sun’s radiant beams,
And grateful hail fair Luna’s tender light.


You know what’s really amazing? Charlotte Forten Grimke has a Facebook page.


Filed in Stories, voices


  1. wholly jeanne

    though i don’t know what the beautiful word “fane” means, i love this poetry piece, and thank you for celebrating charlotte forten grimke here. i’ve never heard of her till now.